Inspectors Guidance Note September 2009 by etssetcf


Inspectors Guidance Note September 2009

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									                                 LONDON BOROUGH OF BARNET
                                    PUBLIC EXAMINATION OF THE
                                   COLINDALE AREA ACTION PLAN

                              GUIDANCE NOTE FROM THE INSPECTOR

             FOR THE PRE HEARINGS MEETING ON 8 OCTOBER 2009 at 12:30 hrs

1.       The Examination Hearings into the Colindale Area Action Plan (“the AAP”) will open at 10:00
         hrs on Tuesday 17 November 2009 at Hendon Town Hall. This Guidance Note has been sent
         to all those who have made representations on the AAP, and its purpose is to provide an
         opportunity for procedural and administrative matters relating to the Examination to be

         My Role
2.       I am a Planning Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local
         Government to independently examine the soundness of the AAP. Following the close of the
         Hearings I shall prepare a short report for the Council with recommendations, including any
         changes required to the AAP. This report will be binding on the Council, which will then move
         to formally adopt the AAP, changed as necessary to reflect the recommendations in my
         report. Details of the Examination process are contained in The Planning Inspectorate’s
         booklets “Local Development Frameworks – Examining Development Plan Documents:
         Procedure Guidance” (2009) and “Local Development Frameworks – Examining Development
         Plan Documents: Soundness Guidance” (2009). All involved in the Examination process
         should read these documents.
         The Programme Officer
3.       Vijaya Ram is the Programme Officer for the Examination (“the PO”) and she will be at the
         Examination Office, with the contact details given on the accompanying letter. She is acting
         as an impartial officer of the Examination, under my guidance, and not as an employee of the
         Council. Her main tasks are to liaise with all parties to ensure the smooth running of the
         Examination, to organise the Hearings Programme, to ensure that all documents received
         both before and during the Hearings are recorded and distributed, and to keep the
         Examination Library. Copies of all the Examination documents, including the representation
         forms and further written submissions, will be available in the Examinations Library. The
         programme for the Hearings is attached to this Note at Annex A. Procedural questions or
         other matters that anyone wishes to raise with me during the Hearings should be raised with
         Vijaya in the first instance.

         The Examination of Soundness

4.       The Examination is a significant departure from previous Inquiries into objections to Local
         Plans. These are the key points to bear in mind:
         •        The Hearings are not planning appeal inquiries and will not be at all confrontational;
         •        The starting point is that the Council has submitted what it considers is a sound AAP;
         •        The focus is on testing soundness and not responding to objections raised in the
                  representations. Accordingly, I shall define a number of matters and issues for
         •        Those who are not attending the Hearings do not need to submit further written
                  evidence. If they feel further evidence is essential, then they must follow the
                  guidance on content and format given below;
         •        Those seeking changes should demonstrate why the AAP is unsound.

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5.       The Hearing sessions will be led by me and will take the form of a discussion to help me
         arrive at my conclusions. Those attending the sessions may bring with them professional
         experts, although there will be no formal presentations of evidence or cross-examination
         allowed. Barristers and solicitors, if present, will be treated as part of a team. I shall make a
         few brief comments on the matters I want covered, then invite individuals to make their
         contribution in response to the points I have raised. The sessions will then progress under
         my guidance, drawing those present into the discussion in such a way as to enable me to
         gain the information necessary to come to a firm conclusion and decision on the matters
         before me. There will be an opportunity to ask questions of those with opposing views.

6.       Those who have made representations have indicated already whether their views should be
         dealt with in a written form or whether they feel that they need to come and discuss them
         orally at a Hearing session. Both methods will carry the same weight and I shall have
         equal regard to views put orally or in writing. Attendance at a Hearing session will only be
         useful and helpful to me if you wish to participate in a debate.

         The Hearings Programme
7.       Please be aware that the programme attached could change. It will be for individual
         participants to check progress, either on the website or with the PO, and to ensure that they
         are present at the correct time. I want the Hearings to be inclusive and therefore I am happy
         to arrange for an evening session in order to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to take
         part. If anyone would like an evening session, please speak to the PO and we will try to
         arrange times to suit everyone that needs to be there.

         Submission of Evidence - Content, Format and Timing

8.       I expect that the evidence base to support the AAP has been produced with a great deal of
         involvement by all stakeholders. Therefore, I want to keep the submission of further written
         evidence to the Hearings to the absolute minimum. Accordingly, these are the key points to
         •        Core Documents are available in the Examination Library, and therefore you do not
                  need to quote extensively from those documents but simply give me a reference to
         •        Agreed Statements of Common Ground between the Council and those seeking
                  changes to the AAP are helpful to me and should be prepared as soon as possible;
         •        Statements for a Hearing session should be sent to the PO no later than 30 October.
                  No statement should be longer than 3,000 words. Any statements longer than this
                  will be returned for editing. The PO will advise how many copies of statements are
                  required in each case;
         •        Statement Format should be A4, printed on both sides, not spiral bound, but
                  punched with two holes, for inclusion in our files. Any photographs should be
                  submitted in A4 format and should be annotated on the back with your ID number and
                  the representation number to which the picture relates. If possible, statements should
                  also be submitted electronically so that they can be included on the Examinations
                  website. No statement/piece of paper submitted in advance of, or at, the Hearings
                  will be accepted if it fails to be clearly marked at the top, right hand corner, with the
                  relevant respondent reference and appropriate matter number.

         Site Visits, Closure of the Hearings and Submission of My Report

9.       I shall visit sites referred to, unaccompanied by the parties wherever possible. Once the
         Hearings are over I can receive no further evidence from any party unless it is something I
         have asked for. Anything else will be returned to the sender. I will send my report to the
         Council within 6 weeks of the close of the Hearings.

         Douglas Machin
         20 August 2009

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                                      ANNEX 1 - HEARINGS PROGRAMME
                                               Tuesday 17 November 2009

 Hearing Matters                                                                          Date & Time

 1. Council’s Opening Statement                                                           10:00 – 10:10

 2. The AAP’s justification:

          Is the evidence base sufficiently robust and clearly stated in the document?    10:10 – 11:00
          Is the AAP founded on a consideration of realistic alternatives?
          The justification for the wording of Policy 6.3?

 3. The AAP’s effectiveness:

          Are the issues and objectives the AAP seeks to meet sufficiently clear?
          What is the timescale for delivery?
          Is the delivery plan and mechanism realistic, clearly elaborated, and funded?   11:15 – 16:00
          Does the AAP contain sufficient design guidance to achieve high quality         (with a lunch
          buildings and spaces, and sustainable, mixed communities?                         break at a
          Is the AAP consistent with the strategies and policies of neighbouring           convenient
          authorities?                                                                    point around
          Are there any infrastructure constraints to delivery?                               13:00)
          Have the impacts on green infrastructure been fully assessed and addressed?
          Is the DPD sufficiently flexible to respond to unexpected changes in

 4. Council’s Closing Statement                                                           16:00 – 16:10

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